CATHOLIC NEWS Sunday, July 15 2012
The start of the August vacation coincided happily with the release of the results of the SEA examination for children who will now move on to secondary schools across the country.
Many question the value of the exam, structured as it is at present, but the sheer excitement that the results generated and the opportunity they gave the country to honour all our children who wrote the SEA were precious moments. Each child, regardless of his or her placement, deserves to be appreciated and loved. The exam, unfortunately, does not take into consideration the varying stages of development of each individual and his or her true potential.
It will be great if the momentum of the past week can be carried over into the vacation period. We may take too lightly the learning opportunities and the fun that these weeks offer and the work of the various Church groups and other agencies that arrange numerous activities for our children in this time.
Last Sunday we carried a story about the collaborative effort of two such agencies, the Save Our Children Foundation and KIDS Chess Academy, which annually hosts a camp in these holiday months. This year’s programme, which includes sessions in communication, drama, art and craft, bullying prevention and chess, of course, is called appropriately, “STEPPING UP, We are all Winners”.
The free expression and creativity which can be lost in the academically focussed school curriculum but which come to the fore in these months and the possibility of discovering latent talent make these months unique and most rewarding for all. These weeks may well be no less important than the school term in shaping the lives of our children.
The parents of top SEA student Rebecca Ann Jattan, in speaking to the media about their daughter’s success, noted that they encouraged her to participate in several extra-curricular activities, including music and dance. Rebecca’s balanced lifestyle no doubt went a long way in helping her to achieve the success she did.
As we congratulate our children for their successes, let us not forget the teachers throughout the primary school system who dedicate themselves to bringing out the best in the pupils in their charge. We thank God for them and the many adults and young adults who will set aside weeks in these holiday months to be present to our young children.
The readings of today’s liturgy speak of a God whose plan will not be thwarted and who looks to willing messengers to make a difference in the lives of his people. So, the unsophisticated Amos, shepherd and dresser of sycamores, goes to prophesy to the people of Israel and, in a similar fashion, Jesus sends out the Twelve to further his ministry with a warning to those who refused to take their work seriously: “If any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them” (Mark 6:11).